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Ministry of Health to focus on community care, value of health services, healthy living

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) will ramp up efforts to improve Singapore's healthcare system in the long term and with it, the ministry will shift its focus beyond hospital care to community care, beyond quality to value, and move beyond health care to health.

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) will ramp up efforts to improve Singapore's healthcare system in the long term and with it, the ministry will shift its focus beyond hospital care to community care, beyond quality to value, and move beyond health care to health.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong made this point in parliament during the Committee of Supply debate on Thursday.

In his update on Healthcare 2020, Mr Gan said that Changi General Hospital will open its new medical centre next year, allowing it to expand its specialist outpatient services.

The Sengkang General and Community Hospital is expected to open by end-2018, the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases is to open progressively from end-2018, and Outram Community Hospital is slated to open by 2020.

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The minister added that Woodlands General Hospital and co-located Community Hospital will break ground next month and be opened progressively from 2022.

But adding capacity alone is not sustainable, Mr Gan noted, adding that this growth must be coupled with efforts to improve care delivery process, transform the care model to leverage on strong primary and community care, as well as roll out better disease prevention.

To deliver quality services, he said, the healthcare workforce has expanded by about 23,000 or 33 per cent over the past five years. Another 9,000 more healthcare workers over the next three years are needed.

On the issue of affordability, the minister said that his team will consider the proposal to extend MediShield Life coverage to patients who are suitable for direct admission to community hospitals.

As part of measures to move beyond health care to health, MOH will focus on early interventions and promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Tied to the war on diabetes that was declared last year, winning the war is more than building healthcare facilities, Mr Gan said. It is about motivating Singaporeans to take charge of their health.

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